Whew. That was fun, wasn’t it? It took me a little while to full comprehend exactly what happened during the Knicks 109-105 win over the Warriors, but I think I’m good now. Steph Curry went unconscious in the middle of the second quarter and stayed that way throughout, finishing with 54 points on 18-28 shooting and 11-13 from beyond the ark. Luckily for the Knicks, no one else on the Warriors contributed much, and the Knicks actual won a game in which someone dropped 50 in the garden on them. Carmelo Anthony had 35 points and 8 assists as the Knicks ran the majority of their offense through him, and JR Smith added 26 on 10-19 shooting and 6-11 from deep.
The Warriors shot 50% from the field as opposed to the Knicks’ 41%, made more 3s (15 to the Knicks’ 11) and shot a better percentage from deep (55.6% to 32.4%) and lost. This was, in major part, to the Knicks dominance on the boards and in the turnover department. Tyson Chandler had 28 rebounds, and the Knicks outrebounded the Warriors 46-38, adding 16 offensive boards to just 5 for the Warriors. Chandler grabbed 10 rebounds in the first 7 minutes, and finished with 13 in the first quarter alone. A lot of this was David Lee being suspended for the Warriors, however the effort was clearly there from Tyson.
Instead of doing a normal, bullet-by-bullet recap, I’ve decided to break down some important plays from the game. While Curry went absolutely insane, and the Knicks only won by 4, I thought that they played much better defensively than they have in the past few weeks. They kept their switching to a minimum, didn’t do a whole lot of doubling in the post, (probably because the Warriors were missing Lee), and played with a lot of effort. They had some breakdowns which led to some open looks for Curry, but he probably wouldn’t have missed if he got hit with a car battery. Anyway, to the game:
As mentioned earlier, Steph Curry was ridiculous. Early in the game though, the Knicks helped him out a bit by not fighting over screens and not hedging properly. Below, Festus Ezeli sets a hard pick on Ray Felton, and Felton gets creamed trying to fight over it. Chandler doesn’t show, and Curry gets a wide open three.
…and Carmelo Anthony doesn’t hedge at all leading to an open three pointer.
There was a sequence during the game where the Knicks blitzed a pick and roll and trapped Curry. He made a weak pass out to Carl Landry, and Chandler and Felton quickly recovered to their man. Then, Curry began cutting to the corner, trying to run a delayed give-and-go. It took Felton a good two seconds to realize this, and the screenshots I took play as a nice pseudo-flipbook of defensive incompetence. By the time Felton sees Curry running, its too late. Felton then jumps right by Curry as he’s spotting up, and Curry drains the shot. I decided to try to make a GIF of this instead of posting 5 screenshots. The quality isn’t that great, but you can still see the hilarity of Felton’s lapse in focus and his reaction.
The Knicks got in trouble with switching a bit, primarily with Melo being the culprit. Here you see him unnecessarily switching off of his man (Klay Thompson) and onto Steph Curry. Curry and Thompson were running a basic baseline crossing action, and Felton should have chased Curry around.After this, Melo is left guarding Curry 30 feet from the hoop. Not a good matchup to say the least.
Carl Landry comes over to set a pick for Jack, and as he does this Klay Thompson clears out to the right corner, taking JR Smith with him. Steph Curry then sneaks in behind Jack, and Melo completely falls asleep and loses Curry.
Transitioning from defense to offense, the Knicks finished the game with a very nice 116.0 offensive efficiency. Melo created a lot of the open looks, finishing with 8 assists. One of them was a beautiful play to get Chandler a lob. It starts out with Felton setting a brush screen to get Melo free. The Knicks run this action all the time, and Melo normally goes to post up on the left block.
Amare Stoudemire finished with 14 points on 6-7 shooting, and a few of them were easy dunks off great feeds from Melo. The Knicks ran a high 3-5 pick and roll, and the Warriors got caught on a nice pick from Chandler.
So, there you have it. Hopefully this gave an interesting look into what turned out to be a great game. The Knicks did a good job of not letting other Warriors beat them by staying disciplined within their rotations (most of the time, at least). Sadly, they face the Wizards on Friday Night Knicks, so they’ll probably start switching everything and give up a gazillion points. Maybe John Wall will hit 11 3s. Ok, probably not. Anyway, this game was a very solid showing from a Knick team that had been in disarray over the past month or so.